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    Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Celebrate Their 40th Anniversary

    By Sister Dana Van Iquity of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence–

    Nuns from All Over the World Assemble for Momentous Easter Party–

    The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence will mark our 40th (RUBY) anniversary this year at our annual Easter Sunday party in Dolores Park. We are returning to one of our original, beloved spots, central to the Castro and not as difficult to get to as the past ones in Golden Gate Park. The free fabulous festivities are on April 21, from 10am to 4pm. Visitors are heartily encouraged to dress for the occasion if so desired, and bring a picnic on the lawn. This is a “green” event, so be sure to pick up your trash and leave no trace.

    The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Inc., is a nonprofit, beneficiary 21st Century Order of queer (LGBTQStr8) nuns representing thousands of people across 75 chapters in 10 countries. We do not make fun of nuns, but on the contrary, we glorify and emulate them. We do, however, make fun of the Pope when we disagree with his “edicts.” We serve as loving nuns to our communities. We teach safer sex. We are activists. We march for human rights. We raise thousands upon thousands of dollars for various charities.

    What is known as the Mother House began in San Francisco 40 years ago on Easter Sunday by a few crazed drag queens from Iowa who migrated from there to The City, and as a joke, dressed in the dead nun habits they had convinced an Iowan Catholic convent to use in a Sound of Music production. Instead, they dressed as nuns—adding to their “Sugar Plum Fairies” act and putting on drag shows everywhere in Iowa. Fresh converts to SF life, on a whim, they donned those habits and “attacked” Lands End beach folks with toy guns and cigars. The citizenry liked the nun concept so much that the Sisters continued to show up at gay events everywhere in the City by the Bay. Or should we say: “The City of the Gays”?

    Decades ago, we Sisters had been harshly accused of “ruining it for everyone” by some critics, and we decided to take back our power and use that as our sarcastic slogan. Since then, we have been injecting irreverent gaiety into serious affairs including human rights, political activism and religious intolerance. We consider it our mission to “ruin” all detrimental conditions—including complacency, guilt, and the inability to laugh at one’s self.

    Sisters gathered at Strut on April 5 to admire original work by artist Ramon Pablo Vidali during the opening reception of the exhibit celebrating the Sisters’ 40th Anniversary.

    My Incredible Path to Nunhood

    I was drafted as a Sister during the 1985 Pride Parade when I offered to march with my two lovers, Sister Boom Boom and Sister Mysteria (one of the very first bio-girl nuns) who are now deceased Nuns of the Above. But way before that, in the early 80s, my good friend John wanted to set me up for a date with Jack Fertig, insisting we would get along perfectly. I met him, and John was indeed correct. It was only then that I found out he was Sister Boom Boom. He introduced me to Sister Mysteria (a professional dominatrix) and we became a triad. The media went crazy, and we three were featured in magazines from People to The Enquirer and on TV news.

    Being with all of these amazing San Francisco nuns and going to their various events, I felt I stood out. Wanting to blend in, I started wearing what was similar to a monk’s robe. June was all about Gay Pride, so I asked the nuns if I could march with them in the 1985 Pride Parade. But since at the time the Sisters only had five nuns for the six colors of the rainbow, they said I had to be a stand-in yellow nun.

    At the end of the parade, they told me that they had voted me in as an official nun, and I was not to get a vote in the matter. I have never regretted it! But when parade goers asked our names, dressed head to toe in lemon yellow habit, I quickly came up with “Sister Citroen Ma Face.” That name worked as long as I was wearing yellow. But thanks to mother Boom Boom, when we were attending the Harvey Milk Opera, he passed me a crumpled cocktail napkin. Opening it, were just the words he had written: “Sister Dana Van Iquity.” I practically jumped in my seat with glee. THIS was to be my name—forever and ever, world without end!

    Anyway, the theme for this year’s Indulgence in the Park, “Love Your Mother,” is an homage to the divine feminine in all of us, reflecting key values we hold as Sisters—honoring Mother Earth, our ancestors and where we’ve come from. We are also magically between 4/20 Day and Earth Day.

    Visitors to this year’s celebration will meet hundreds of Sisters from all over the world, all sporting their particular Order’s traditional wimple (headpiece), veil and habit (be it a robe or miniskirt or anything in between). There will also be a very special surprise guest. Shhhhh! I can’t reveal the name.

    The event begins with full children’s programming (this is our version of “traditional family values”) from 10–11:30am, including an Easter Egg Hunt, Sisters’ Story Time and free dental screenings. Adults can also receive free dental screenings from noon to 2pm.

    The main stage adult show will begin at noon, with live music, eye-popping performances, sharp-tongued hosts and our hallmark Easter Bonnet, Foxy Mary and Hunky Jesus contests. As I remind any would-be overly traditional values religious critics: I like to think that my Lord has a sense of humor. Laughter is godliness. Anyone who wants to enter one or all three contests is encouraged to do so, but be forewarned because Sister Roma and I will be interviewing and judging these folks. All with a sense of humor, of course! Because without humor, The Sisters would have no place in this wonderful, diverse, (sometimes perverse) community. Oh, who’s that hopping down the Bunny Trail? Why, it’s the Sisters! Happy Easter, one and all!!!

    To read more about Sister Dana Van Iquity, see “Sister Dana Sez” on page 27 and this Q&A from the Sisters:


    My NUN-conventional Path to Sainthood

    By Karin Lee Jaffie–

    When I kneeled at The Eagle to receive a holy paddling as Saint Commedia dell’Farte in 1995, I doubt I knew what the mission of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Inc., involving “expiating stigmatic guilt” and “promulgating universal joy” meant. However, my life motto has always been, “I am here to help,” and it turns out martyrdom becomes me.

    Can an avowed agnostic even be a saint? Over the years—with their slogan “Go forth and sin some more!”—The Sisters have named hundreds of people as “Saints” in recognition of their community service and organizing in LGBTQ communities.

    A requirement for canonization from the Vatican is performing a miracle. I definitely have turned wine to water, but The Sisters have given me the opportunity to do much more useful and substantial acts of servitude. For many years, I worked their “dirty room,” where volunteers count buckets of surprisingly filthy donated dollars from Halloween party-goers in the Castro. The Sisters then granted that money to organizations in need. I have been sunburned guarding the gates at Folsom, and nonplussed providing security at Dore Alley. And some time ago, I helped to bring their website

    ( ) back from the dead.

    So, let’s see … I put in the time, did my service, heroic virtue, yadda yadda and my miracle has been verified. Oh hell, it turns out I am a Saint.

    It is customary for the Sisters to award Sainthood with a characteristic “Saint name” that recognizes their unique contributions; let us just say mine gives a faux-Latin nod to my bawdy comedic nature.

    Many Sisters are now among my chosen family. The first relationships to blossom were with Sr Saki Tumi and Sr Penny Costal. Sr Penny has served as my de-facto Mom, introducing me to many of San Francisco’s LGBTQ service organizations of which I am now steward. Sr Penny has remained my spiritual guide throughout the many titles I have held in the Imperial Council and Ducal Council of SF, Golden State Gay Rodeo and Krewe de Kinque. She finds positive outlets for my mania, helping me to use my creative energy for good and not evil. If idle hands are the devil’s workshop, is that not the “Lord’s work”?

    I was often drawn into madcap adventures with these nuns. Saki and Penny once dressed me in femme drag, drove me to the Mission, then kicked me out of the car in front of the drag bar Esta Noche (RIP) and drove off. Imagine my shock upon discovering I had just been “entered” as the 2nd contestant in San Francisco’s very first Faux Queen pageant. I did not win, but I met Sr Dana Van Iquity that night, and still love my “Gramma Dana” to this day.

    Another Sister has performed all three marriages to my wife for life, Lori Howes (aka St Candyass). Sr Phyllis Stein the Fragrant has married us with the same ceremonial words three times: 1999 in Watsonville (full deal, parents and all); our 2002 Vermont civil union at the Von Trapp Family Lodge; and most recently, our entirely legal marriage in 2016 on Bernal Hill.

    (To be fair, the Order kind of owed me: I had to leave very early the morning after Lori and I first *ahem* consummated our love. I was booked with the Sisters to lay out part of the AIDS Quilt at the SF Giants’ “Until There’s a Cure” day at Candlestick Park (RIP) in 1995.)

    My current work with the Sisters is less on the streets and more in the sheets—spreadsheets that is. For the last few years I have been helping to recruit and manage the entertainment for both of their annual fundraiser galas: Project Nunway, and Easter in the Park (where I also co-MC and stage manage).

    It truly will be miraculous to be back home in Dolores Park for Easter this year, gathered together with Sisters, Saints and family from near and far, ministering to the masses. We hope to see you there!

    Karin Jaffie, aka Kit/Kitty Tapata, is Saint Commedia dell’Farte of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and was Mr. Gay San Francisco 2012. Jaffie is also a “San Francisco Bay Times” columnist—see “Queer Pop Quiz” on page 22.


    Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Saints & Angels

    By Karin Lee Jaffie–

    Over the years, the Sisters have named as saints hundreds of people who have helped on various projects behind the scenes organizing, coordinating actions or projects, performing at events as an artist or emcee, or even serving the greater LGBT community. Rarely, but sometimes, they canonize community heroes who have recently died. It is customary for the Sisters to award sainthood with the addition of an elaborate “saint name.” The Sisters also award the title of “angels” to those non-members who make contributions to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in some way. Notable Saints include:

    • San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk – Saint Harvey Milk
    • Dan Nicoletta – Saint Out of the Closet & Into the Darkroom Purveyor of Flashbacks and F-Stops
    • Gilbert Baker – Saint Amora Betsy Ross of All the Glittering Rainbows in the Sky
    • Governor Gavin Newsom – Saint Marry Mayor of San Francisco
    • Mark Leno – Saint Mark My Words
    • Carole Migden – Saint Marry Carole
    • Tom Ammiano – Saint Tom Ammiano
    • Robin Williams – Saint Robin Williams
    • Lily Tomlin – Saint Signs of Intelligent Life
    • Margaret Cho – Saint Margaret Cho, Our Lady of Love
    • Rosie O’Donnell – Saint Cutie Patootie
    • Stormy Daniels – Saint Tempestuous, Eye of the Hurricane of Truth and Stormer of the Barricades of Intolerance
    • Midori – Saint Wild Side Artiste of the Ties that Bind
    • Lenny Broberg – Saint of the Pepper Spritz Lily
    • Empress XXIV Pat Montclaire – Saint Pat
    • Cookie Dough – Saint Cookie Dough: San Francisco’s Golden Girl + Mother of Monsters
    • Alex U Inn – Saint Alex, Protector of the Kingdom, Defender of Identity for Momma’s Boyz, Daddy’s Girlz and Everyone in Between
    • BeBe Sweetbriar – Saint BeBe, the Black Barbie Songstress with a Heart of Gold
    • Cockatelia – Santa Cockatelia de la Piazza Linguini Numero Nove
    • Heklina – Saint Brownie Star, Tranny Queen of the Shack Tribe
    • Peaches Christ – Saint Fierce Femme Fatale, Mistress of the Most Holy Mass


    Nuns of the Above

    These Sisters have passed through the veil and joined the Nuns of the Above. A tip of the wimple to each and every one of them for being trailblazers and inspiration for the work that the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence does today. We are comforted knowing that they are sprinkling glitter blessings on the Sisters and the entire LGBTQ community whenever they get the chance.

    Reverend Mother Abbess
    Sister Atta Van Haldol
    Sister Barbi Mitzvah
    Sister Bi-Polar Dysfunction
    Sister Boom Boom aka Sister Rose of the Bloody Stains of the Sacred Robes of Jesus
    Sister Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
    Sister Chanel 2001 aka Gilbert Baker
    Sister DiManda Tencion
    Father Fellatio
    Father Flick
    Sister Florence Nightmare, RN
    Sister Fleur of the Flip-Top Box
    Sister Homocycle Motor Sexual
    Sister Honey, Be!
    Pope Impious the First de San Francisco
    Sister Irma Gration
    Sister Juanita La Bufadora
    Sister Krishna Kosher
    Sister Kumonowanalaya
    Sister Lily Pads
    Sister Lost and Found
    Sister Luscious Lashes
    Sister Mae B. Hostel
    Sister Marie Ever-Ready
    Sister Marquesa de Sade
    Sister Mysteria of the Holy Order of the Broken Hymen
    Sister Olive O’Sudden
    Sister Psychedlia
    Sister Quaalude Conduct
    Sister Rosanna Hosanna Fella-Bella
    Sister Saddie Saddie Rabbi Lady
    Sister Salvation Armee
    Sister Sensible Shoes aka Sister Loretta Timothy
    Sister Sermonetta of the Flying Phalus
    Reverend Mother Shapiro
    Sister Sindy Vine
    Sister Sleaze du Jour
    Sister Sushi aka Sister Psychedelia
    Sister Unity Harmony
    Sister Vice n Virtue
    Sister Xtasy-Marie-Colette


    Orders Worldwide

    Soon after the San Francisco Order of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence was founded in 1979, the mission of the Sisters spread far and wide. Houses can be found across the U.S. and in several countries around the world.

    Although the San Francisco House is often referred to as the “Mother House,” the Sisters have no central seat of power and no single ruling body. Each House is an autonomous, unique group with its own habits (in every meaning of the word), culture and rules. Just as the San Francisco House is a reflection of the culture that surrounds it, so too is each House a reflection of its own environment.

    Countries outside of the U.S. with Orders include Canada, Australia, Colombia, France, Germany, Scotland, Switzerland, the U.K. and Uruguay.